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How To Get Test Automation Right In Devops

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By Author: Diya Jones
Total Articles: 101
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The fast-moving digital landscape of today hinges on moving ‘value to production’ quickly along with the assurance of quality. In other words, enterprises should fast forward their value chain consisting of processes such as build, test, and deploy in an effective manner. This has become important due to the changing customer preferences for better quality products or services. And unless enterprises are in alignment with the changing market dynamics, their products or services may face obsolescence in no time. Moreover, since customer experience has become the prime differentiator for the acceptance of a product or service in the market, quality testing has acquired a critical dimension in the overall scheme of things.

This has led to the evolution of DevOps as a methodology that encompasses the adoption of new technologies, tools, practices, and philosophies. DevOps calls for creating a seamless culture of collaboration between the two principal departments of any software organization - development (development and testing) and operations. DevOps is a step ahead of Agile where in addition to the development and QA teams working in tandem, the operations team is made part of the value chain as well. The thrust of DevOps is on enabling the continuous development, integration, and delivery pipeline through test automation.

How test automation advances the cause of DevOps?

With the complexity of software applications increasing due to the incorporation of new features and functionalities, the quantum of testing data has increased manifold. Furthermore, since manual regression testing is found to be grossly inadequate in identifying glitches, the importance of continuous testing solutions has taken centre stage. It helps testers to run test cases continuously by taking large volumes of data as input and in the process, identify the built-in glitches. Test automation requires testers to understand the technical landscape, tools, testing methodologies, and the way to create test scripts. To build a successful DevOps testing strategy, testers should use the CI/CD tools in collaboration with the development and operations teams.

Also, with the traditional waterfall model of testing, the scope of testing gets reduced as it becomes nigh impossible to validate every aspect of the software. However, with DevOps automated testing, the usability of an application can be validated by virtualizing the number of users. The flurry of reports generated by the test automation tool allows testers to gain a clear insight into the underlying glitches. The other benefits that test automation can bring along in the entire value chain are -

Helps shape the discussion surrounding the automation of processes, thereby reducing errors.

Enables the delivery team to understand the system behaviour expected by the product owners.

The clarity of testing process helps to reduce the amount of rework later.

Helps the development-cum-delivery teams to adhere to the prearranged turnaround time.

Prevents cost overruns arising out of any rework to remove bugs.

How to get DevOps test automation right

To ensure the success of a DevOps testing strategy, the testers should get their test automation process right. Doing so would entail understanding the user environment, tools to be used, and deliverables of the software.

Know about the user environment: To enable the success of DevOps quality assurance through a credible test automation process, understanding the user environment becomes critical. It helps to create a blueprint for collaboration between the development and operations teams. For example, should the application in testing deals with the BFSI sector, the role of DevSecOps (read security testing) gains significance.

Driving a proactive testing effort: To ensure continuous testing in DevOps, both developers and test engineers should collaborate in order to enhance the test coverage area and quality of test scripts. It also helps to set up the quality metrics and make the testing efforts proactive.

Set up a dedicated team: The automation of tests requires planning and strategizing at the beginning. A QA team that is only into the execution of tests may not achieve the expected outcomes of DevOps. Thus, to derive tangible results from the automation process, the setting up of a dedicated test automation team becomes important.

A robust reporting mechanism: Any form of
test automation can be successful in achieving its objectives, provided it has a robust reporting mechanism. The automation tool should have the requisite dashboard with reports of ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ clearly delineated.

Conclusion

It is only through the success of DevOps QA that enterprises can guarantee the quality of a software. Since test automation is at the core of such a strategy, it should be done in right earnest and by following the due process. To ensure that speed and quality become an integral part of the SDLC, the DevOps culture should be adopted by business organizations.

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